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February 9, 2015

Complements of Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Apopka, FL

Killian Winn's Peaceful Day on the Econ

Killian Winn's Peaceful Day on the Econ

Events and Seminar:

February 14 & 15th - Old Florida Outdoor Festival, 3710 Jason Dwelley Parkway, Apopka, Florida 32712. Come by and visit me at the Anglers for Conservation Booth. and purchase a raffle ticket for a new Engel Cooler donated by Mosquito Creek Outdoors to benefit Hook kids on Fishing Programs.

This Week's Fishing Report

Well, the fishing over the first nine days of February on the Indian River Lagoon Coast of Florida has been very memorable to say the least. After a very slow start, the American shad run has finally materialized, and good catches American shad are being reported from the Econ Creek to Lake Washington.

Killian with a 9-pound Econ Striper

Killian with a 9-pound Econ Striper

On February 2nd, I had the pleasure of spending the day shad fishing on the Econ Creek with Sam Winn from Melbourne Florida along with his son Justin and grandson Killian. I love it when I get three generations of anglers on my boat, as these three were certainly a hoot. Although the bite was slow, we did manage to catch two American shad and a very respectable striped bass.

My next adventure started on February 4th, where I was joined by Brad and Jennifer from Cincinnati Ohio for two days of fishing, one in freshwater and the other saltwater. My original plan was to fish the Mosquito Lagoon during the week and the St Johns River on the weekend, but Mother Nature delivered rain and wind on Wednesday, so we switch locations to escape the wind. Our day on the St. Johns began with dodging raindrops, but the shad bite turned on and we ended the day with over 30 shad along with seven other species of fish including a 9-pound catfish.

Jennifer's American Shad

Jennifer's American Shad

Brad's first American Shad

Brad's first American Shad

Captain Tom's American Shad

Captain Tom's American Shad

Our next charter together was on Sunday February 8th, as we ventured out into Mosquito Lagoon for the saltwater leg of two day charter. I typically try to dodge the Lagoon during the weekend to avoid the crowds, but again the weather dictated our opportunities and we were blessed with Chamber of Commerce weather, good fishing and crazy weekend anglers. It was a gorgeous day in the morning and both Jennifer and Brad caught their first redfish and received a taste of why we chose to live and fish on Florida's Space Coast.

Jennifer's First Mosquito Lagoon Redfish

Jennifer's First Mosquito Lagoon Redfish

Brads First Redfish

Brads First Redfish

Jennifer and Brad share a Mosquito Lagoon moment.

Jennifer and Brad share a Mosquito Lagoon moment.

Today another cold front is passing through Central Florida, but once it's passed the weather is looking great, so hit the water and stretch some line.

Visit www.mosquitocreekoutdoors.com for your outdoor adventure needs, its Where the Adventure Begins!

Fishing Forecast

No-Motor Zone Redfish caught by Chris Myers on Fly

No-Motor Zone Redfish caught by Chris Myers on Fly

February, 2015

Complements of Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Apopka, FL

Events and Seminar:

February 7, 2015 9 am - Free Hook Kids on Fishing Program at Birdaplooza. To preregister your kids for this event go to www.birdapalooza.com. Volunteers are still needed for the Apopka Wildlife festival's Hook Kids on Fishing program. Please contact me if you can help teach kids to fish.

February 14 & 15th - Old Florida Outdoor Festival, 3710 Jason Dwelley Parkway, Apopka, Florida 32712. Come by and visit me at the Anglers For Conservation Booth. and purchase a raffle ticket for a new Engel Cooler donated by Mosquito Creek Outdoors to benefit Hook kids on Fishing Programs.


February's Fishing Forecast

As winters go here in Central Florida, we certainly can't complain about the weather we've experienced thus far. Other than the some rain and the extreme wind we experienced last week, gorgeous fishing conditions have prevailed and we've had so first-rate fishing as well.

Inshore on the flats, water levels are starting to drop and the water clarity is crystal clear in most areas. These concentrations make for some tight schools, but shallow conditions also make access both difficult and dangerous for those who do not know the area. On colder days, falling water temperatures force fish to seek deeper locations in search the warmest water they can find and they become very sluggish. As the sun warms the water, all it takes is a degree or two of change, the fish will begin to move and feed in the shallows. On the sunny mornings, it is not uncommon to find redfish and trout holding in the sand pockets or potholes within the shallow flats where water temperatures raise faster. Additionally, warming water temperatures combined with sunny spring days and crystal clear water make February one of the best months to site fish for redfish, large sea trout, and black drum on the lagoon flats.

Eric's No-Motor Zone Black Drum

Eric's No-Motor Zone Black Drum

February is also the time to target tailing black drum and redfish in the Banana River Lagoon "No Motor Zone". The above photo is of Captain Chris Myers with a No-Motor Zone redfish caught back in February 2009 on a DOA Crab. It's a long paddle in, but the sight of large tailing black drum waving in the breeze makes it well worth the effort. Unfortunately, I am limited to one angler on my NMZ charters, as I fish out of a custom designed Indian River canoe.

Offshore, kingfish are still present along the inshore reefs and wrecks, and they will remain there as long as the water temperature stays above 68 degrees. When targeting kingfish this month focus your efforts on the areas of 8A Reef, Pelican Flats, and Bethel Shoals to the south for best results. Look for cobia and amberjack to be present on the inshore wrecks like the Carol Lee, Dutch, and Sub Wreck out of Port Canaveral. Additionally, live bait is tough to find this time of year, so always carry a box of frozen Spanish sardines with you as backup.

Rick's Smoker Kingfish

Rick's Smoker Kingfish

Near-shore, look for tripletail concentrations to improve greatly along the Port Canaveral buoy line and under floating weeds and structures, and for cobia to move in shadowing manta rays if the surface water temperatures reach the upper sixties. Now is also the time for shore fisherman to target pompano, bluefish, weakfish, small black drum, sheepshead, Spanish mackerel and whiting in the surf and larger redfish and flounder around the inlets and jetties.

Hickory Shad on Fly

Hickory Shad on Fly

Last but not least, on windy days in February is a great time to check out those freshwater fishing holes on the St Johns River. Currently good catches speckled perch are being reported, but the America shad bite is still slow. Water levels are still high, but they're falling slowly, so as the water levels drop below the banks, the bite should improve. Last week I received reports of shad being caught in the old Marina Isle area and south of Lake Harney. Lastly, Seminole County Parks and Greenways has decided to close the CS Lee Park and ramp from February 9th thru the 28th during the peak of shad season, so like me, if you enjoy fishing that region of Shad Ally, you will have to launch elsewhere. I will keep you informed on developments.

Captain Tom Van Horn